The unidentified 15-year-old girl, who did not commit a crime, was ordered detained for 20 hours in a Bradford, England, police cell, on orders of Judge Robert Bartfield, before she gave 22 minutes of evidence last week in court. A jury convicted the girl's abuser, Abid Miskeen, 32, of sexual activity with a child on Tuesday.
Victim support groups reacted with outrage at the girl's treatment by the court, the British newspaper the Guardian said Wednesday.
"The spectacle of a child spending the hours before she gives evidence against her abuser, locked up in cells at a police station and at court, is nothing short of Dickensian, and must never be allowed to happen again," said Alan Pemberton of the group Victim Support.
The Brighton judiciary said in a statement, after the verdict, the decision to retain the witness was '"a very unusual and exceptional step."
In testimony, the court was told the girl, who was made pregnant at age 14 by the defendant, still had strong feelings for him and did not want to provide testimony.